Strategic objective 1:

Connected community

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Libraries adapt

COVID-19 caused our libraries to close from March 2020. We moved many library services online and expanded our home delivery service.

Brunswick Baths

We upgraded Brunswick Baths. There is now a 24-hour gym, 2 group fitness spaces and an improved indoor pool.

A place for all

We built female-friendly changerooms at Reddish Reserve, Hadfield.

Out to play

We launched Merri-bek Play Streets and held 2 events encouraging locals to gather on residential streets to play. We upgraded 7 playgrounds.

Count her in

We received $70,000 to help women and girls from diverse backgrounds join mainstream sport. Hundreds participated in 56 culturally inclusive sporting opportunities.

Democracy Lab

We recruited participants to our Democracy Lab. This supports people to get more involved in community life.

Strategic objective 1: case study

Brunswick Baths

We finished a major upgrade to Brunswick Baths during 2019-20.

There is now a 24-hour gym, 2 group fitness spaces (including a wellness space) and an improved indoor pool.

The baths were refurbished in 2013. Since then we have had 2.8 million people visit.

We involved the community in the upgrade – asking them what they wanted and needed.

We relocated the gym to make it accessible 24 hours a day. There is now lift access to the fully equipped gym and cardio room, as well as ramps to access the pools. We created accessible changing rooms and toilets.

The gym has brand new, state-of-the-art equipment. Our new wellness space also has new equipment.

Aquatic classes and swimming lessons can now use the full size of the pool. This means more people can take part in those classes. We have classes for all ages and abilities.

The refurbishment was part of our Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2017-2021. This plan has 86 priorities to guide our work in public health and wellbeing.

The baths are currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Take a virtual tour of Brunswick Baths.

Strategic objective 1: case study

Count her in

Our Count Me in Too project helped women and girls from diverse backgrounds play mainstream sports.

During the past year, 601 women and girls participated in 56 culturally inclusive sporting opportunities. They got involved in local clubs and organisations in Fawkner, Glenroy and Hadfield.

The sports include cricket, tennis, Aussie rules, golf, netball and lawn bowls. The program has been very successful at Fawkner Lawn Bowls Club. The first Friday of each month is now a ‘women-only’ day at the club.

And the program is having a positive impact on women’s lives. Many have made new friends and connections. They are feeling healthier and are trying new sports or returning to sport after long breaks.

Tamanah Rahim is a player with the Northern Saints Football Club. She said: “I am trying to encourage more girls from different ages to come together and try football. I’ve got 3 other little sisters. My goal is that I become a role model towards them.”

Rebecca Mason is captain of the Haig Fawkner Cricket Club. She encourages other women and girls to get involved. “Jump in and join," she said. “It doesn’t matter if you can run fast, it doesn’t matter if you can catch a ball. It’s all about having a go. Playing cricket this year … it’s really brought something out in me that I never knew I had.”

Clubs need to field junior teams and women’s/girls’ teams to get access to our grounds and pavilions. They also need to have women in decision making positions on their committees. This policy has seen a large increase in the number of women and girls getting involved in sporting clubs. Female sports participation increased from 8% in 2008 to 24% in 2019.

The Count Me in Too project received $70,000 under the Free From Violence Local Government Grants. Merri-bek Council delivered the program over 12 months in partnership with Merri Health.

Anyone interested in getting involved can visit our Active Merri-bek website.

Strategic objective 2:

Progressive city

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Virtual Merri-bek

Virtual and augmented reality helped the community understand future changes to the area. And have their say.

Climate action

We created a Zero Carbon Merri-bek action plan to tackle the climate emergency. We got 100% of our electricity from renewable sources.

Level crossings

Our advocacy guided redevelopment of the Upfield railway corridor. Level crossings are on track to be removed from Merri-bek.

A Park Close
to Home

We acquired 3 sites for new parks, providing more open space. New parks at Tinning Street and West Street began construction.


We upgraded Fawkner’s Bonwick Street shopping strip as part of our streetscape renewal program.

Brunswick Music Festival

The Sydney Road Street Party attracted 50,000 people. The Brunswick Music Festival had a very successful start but was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Strategic objective 2: case study

Virtual Merri-bek

Virtual Merri-bek allows you to see our city through 3D maps and models. You can use virtual and augmented reality to see how new developments or parks might look.

We want Virtual Merri-bek to improve our community engagement, especially in the areas of planning and development.

During 2019-20, we used Virtual Merri-bek to support community consultations. These included showing before and after comparisons for 2 new parks.

We also presented 2 live development applications. The community could view 3D models of proposed developments using augmented reality.

And for some fun, our SmartARrt project brought iconic Merri-bek murals to life.

During the year we improved our 3D model of the city. This included creating 3D virtual tours of our community hub project in Glenroy. We also created 3D virtual tours of works at the Brunswick Mechanics Institute and Bonwick Street in Fawkner.

Find out more about Virtual Merri-bek and download the app.

Strategic objective 2: case study

The climate emergency

We’re fighting climate change in lots of different ways.

Last year we purchased 100% of our electricity from renewable sources. This was the first full year we did this. It meant renewable energy powered council buildings, street lights and more.

Our carbon footprint for operations is now 70% below the 2011-12 baseline.

We are also supporting our community to respond to the climate emergency.

We rolled out our opt-in food and garden organics collection service. Over 10,000 extra households have taken up the service. Now almost 70% can put food scraps in with their garden clippings. This waste is turned into compost to enrich soil on farms, parks and more. Keeping food waste out of landfill helps prevent damaging methane emissions. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas.

Through the Australian Energy Foundation, 83 homes had solar systems installed. This was only slightly down (380kW) on the target of 400kW. Plus, solar power was installed on Brunswick Velodrome and Moomba Park kindergarten. A 13.5kWh battery storage system was also installed at Newlands Community Centre.

We now have 22 zero-emissions vehicles in our fleet. Plus, we installed more electric vehicle fast-charging stations, bringing the total to 5. We have 14 public electric vehicle charging stations. This is the highest number owned and operated by any Victorian council.

Merri-bek is proud to be a leader in taking action against, and responding to, climate change. Find out more about how you can get involved.

Strategic objective 3:

Responsible council

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Doing better

We answered your calls faster and improved how we track your requests. Now we have 87% satisfaction with our customer service.

Going digital

We launched our first digital newsletter, My Merri-bek, and grew our Facebook followers by 12.5%.


We ensured we adhere to all of the new Local Government Act 2020. It aims to improve democracy, accountability and service delivery.


We consulted the community on the design of a reimagined Fleming Park grandstand in Brunswick East. And awarded the construction contract.

new hub

Design work was completed for the community hub in Glenroy. Work on this $30.1 million project is due to be completed in 2021.

Conversations Merri-bek

We launched our online community engagement tool. And used it for over 50 community consultations.

Strategic objective 3: case study

Glenroy Community Hub

A new community hub is coming to Glenroy.

During 2019-20, we completed design of the hub. In December 2019, our councillors approved the contract. Construction has now started on this $30.1 million project and it is expected to open in late 2021.

The hub is on the site of the former Glenroy Primary School in Wheatsheaf Road. It will be home to the Glenroy library and the Glenroy Memorial Kindergarten.

There will also be:
• Maternal Child Health
• community health provider Co-health
• neighbourhood learning
• our customer service centre.

Having these services in the one location will make it easier for you to access them. It will also allow the services to work together into the future.

The local community will also enjoy improvements to Bridget Shortell Reserve. A new community garden will be created as part of the project.

The hub will be among the first in Australia to be Passive House Certified. This means the project has been designed with environmental excellence in mind.

The State Government has supported us to build this community facility.

Keep updated about the community hub.

Strategic objective 3: case study

Getting you involved

We launched Conversations Merri-bek during the year.

Conversations Merri-bek is our online community. It is where you can join the conversation about important matters shaping our city.

We used it for over 50 community consultations in 2019-20. These included consultations on:
• our budget
• youth mental health
• making nutritious food accessible to all
• community art.

We also invited our community to name 2 new parks using Conversations Merri-bek. These parks are in Brunswick.

The name Garrong Park was chosen for the Tinning Street park. It means ‘wattle’ in Woi Wurrung language. And the West Street park became Bulleke-bek Park. This was taken from the former Aboriginal name for Brunswick. Construction has started and the parks are due to open in late 2020.

The 2 new parks are part of our A Park Close to Home program. We want to make sure everyone in Merri-bek lives at least 500 metres walking distance of a park or open space.

On Conversations Merri-bek you can:
• learn about local projects
• contribute ideas and feedback
• exchange views with others
• learn about how your input has made a difference.

Join the conversation on Merri-bek’s future.



In your language

In this section you can find links to translated information. We have translated our Highlights of the Year into 3 community languages

If you have questions, you can contact us.


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